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Cheer Parent
Jan 7, 2010
New blog that popped up out of no where. Has anyone seen this? There are several entries besides the one listed.

The Cheerleaders are Playing Games

The Cheerleaders are Playing Games
USA Cheer’s proclaimed new sport STUNT is in full swing. Let the games begin! It is truly that, a game, not a sport. STUNT is supposedly the college version of competitive cheer that the NCAA can accept as an emerging sport for women. USA Cheer has branded STUNT as a Title IX compliant opportunity for universities to expand women’s athletic opportunities on their campuses. The 1972 law has driven the addition of women’s sports at the college level and continues to permeate the collegiate athletics landscape. However, the first foul of this game is that cheerleading teams that are already providing some opportunities for women are being targeted by USA Cheer’s STUNT. The shift of opportunity rather than the creation of new opportunity is definitely not what Title IX or the NCAA had in mind.
STUNT’s season began with two of the nation’s most talented and successful women’s cheer teams, Morehead State and the University of Louisville competing head to head in what is rightfully named a game. The teams executed skills which are typical of high school level teams or intermediate level college teams. The STUNT format limits every team to doing exactly the same choreography except in the final team routine. Imagine Florida, Ohio State, Texas or USC playing flag football, under little league rules with middle school referees. That about sums up what STUNT did to these two powerhouses.
USA Cheer fouls again when too many elements from other sports are copied to seemingly justify or create a real sport feeling to a STUNT game. A pre-game coin toss determines which team wins possession. Then a uniformed referee roams the mat and signals the beginning of rounds with a whistle. As if validating STUNT with football concepts isn’t enough, don’t be shocked when a coach throws the red coach’s challenge flag to dispute a scoring decision. Add quarters, players and the play clock and it’s a full blown game. It was Hollywood meets cheerleading to do a movie about a game.
Perhaps the one thing this game wins is participation. There is a flock of teams participating STUNT. This is an important key for the NCAA in evaluating a proposal to become a NCAA emerging sport. But even this win is probably due to be vacated for yet another rules violation by USA Cheer. The interest shown in STUNT is significant, but it’s not the most important interest. Currently, not one single athletic director and university president tandem has officially endorsed STUNT by creating a varsity STUNT team on their campus. The NCAA requires at least 10 universities to sponsor a fully supported varsity team in a sport to approve it as an emerging sport. This is probably because universities don’t commit to games, they commit to sports. In fact, an article by Orlan Ree on the Cheertimes dot com web site features statements from several athletic directors or athletic department representatives who specifically deny any support or current initiatives to sponsor varsity STUNT teams. Some of the statements included came from the University of Louisville and Morehead State University administrators who merely allowed their sideline cheer teams to compete in STUNT.
For the average person who knows not the world of cheerleading, the game is being played in the media as well. Most people thought things ended with the recent Quinnipiac lawsuit that spurned the headline, “Cheerleading is Not a Sport.” USA Cheer has cleverly proclaimed that it created a new sport that can be Title IX complaint and could be adopted by the NCAA. Frequent press releases have given the appearance that USA Cheer has created a true sport with more safety minded and new opportunities for universities to expand women’s athletics. But, one only has to step back from the chess-like entertainment of the game to see, this is not a sport.
The National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association, the governing body for Acrobatics and Tumbling originated the new model and started the movement to become an NCAA viable sport. Professional coaches and collegiate athletic directors, not corporate executives, continue to develop and promote Acro and Tumbling through the traditional nonprofit governing structure for sports. There are no games, gimmicks or forced sport atmospheres. In just under two years, one varsity team has grown to 6 universities and counting that now sponsor varsity programs. The NCATA’s second full season is underway, the application has been submitted to the NCAA and the inaugural national championship is just around the corner. The six NCAA member universities sponsoring the sport have awarded millions of dollars to date in scholarship funds and are currently providing new opportunities for over 180 women in college athletics. Game over, the women of A&T win!
While the cheerleaders are playing games and USA Cheer is refereeing, the Acro and Tumbling is headed straight for the NCAA finish line. For the NCATA, it’s not a game, it’s a sport!